Questions About Stalcup Hardware Closing Remain
Business evicted Thursday morning, customers wonder why.
From Maple Avenue, it looked like business as usual at Vienna's Stalcup Hardware on Thursday, the store's flagship old-fashioned red pickup truck still parked in the first spot of Glyndon Shopping Center.
But drivers that pulled up to the shop around noon found half-empty stacks of firewood, an abandoned stove and locked doors; a look inside revealed a disarray of scattered furniture and former merchandise and in the center, a lone scarecrow propped up to face the windows.
On Thursday morning, the Fairfax County Sheriff's office served a formal eviction to the store's owners, Lt. Steve Elbert said. But it's unclear what exactly forced the store, a town favorite for nearly a decade, to pick up and go.
Elbert said a notice was posted on the shop's doors about a week ago to notify the tenants formally of the eviction orders.
An employee of neighboring Jammin' Java said a "for lease" sign had been hanging in the store's window "for a while," but the owner told her and others the store wasn't going anywhere.
But on Monday, she said, they saw Stalcup Hardware employees beginning to pack up and move the store.
By the time Elbert arrived to change the store's locks today, the tenants were already halfway moved out, he said.
According to Fairfax County real estate records, the shopping center, including Stalcup's Hardware, is owned by Zafren Frank and Alexander Jacobson, who gave a business address in Alexandria. Frank and Jacobson could not be reached for comment.
The Vienna Police Department served two warrants for no business license on the apparent owner Edward Stalcup, then 53, on Nov. 21, 2010. Stalcup signed both warrants, according to police records.
Stalcup could not be reached for comment.
Court records show a "nolle prosequi," indicating the county decided not to prosecute Stalcup for that charge, or a charge for failing to pay meals tax from 2009.
Vienna Public Information Officer Kirstyn Barr said the business did file for a license in 2011. The town was not involved in Thursday's eviction, she said.
Customers who came to the door on Thursday morning were surprised to see the store, known for towering stacks of firewood in the winter and rows of hanging flower pots in the summer, empty.
The Stalcup family had been a community figure in Vienna for about a decade, but throughout the area for even longer — residents say the store was formerly Stalcup Farm Home Garden in McLean before moving to Vienna sometime in the early to mid-2000s.
It was a convenient place to go for soil, wood, knickknacks and plants, saving locals a farther trip to Home Depot or Lowe's. Customers grew fond of a friendly chocolate lab who would greet them by the door, or wander in to buy homemade pickles for sale in Mason jars by the register.
"The assortment of random baked goods for sale seems a bit odd to me. But then, it wouldn't be a loveable, quirky, local shop without this sort of thing," Yelp reviewer Jane H said.
The iconic red pickup truck won several awards from the town over the past decade in its annual Halloween Parade, picking up honors for best antique vehicle.
"I hope they stay in Vienna," said one customer who stopped at the sight of the store Thursday. "All he wanted to do was stay here and run this hardware store."
For now, all that remains is a sign that thanks the customers and says the owners hope to open in a new location.
"It's a shame," the man said, taking one last glance at the locked double doors before walking away.